De Melo’s Imran Ayoub takes home Business Person of the Year title

TEDCO is delighted to announce that Imran Ayoub of De Melo coffee house and dessert lounge in Middlesbrough took home the BME Tees Valley Authority Businessman of the Year award in February. One of the brightest new businesses to have been supported through the Start & Grow programme and Virgin StartUp loans, De Melo has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. And this award recognises the hard work of both Imran and his wife Nadia, who together run one of Teesside’s most popular restaurants.

Imran and Nadia first launched De Melo, based on Linthorpe Road, in 2015. They offer a range of desserts and sweet treats alongside a new range of authentic handmade gelato created in partnership with Aromitalia – one of Italy’s oldest flavour houses.

Imran comments:

“2016 was a busy year for DeMelo’s and to receive this award truly recognises the many advances the business has made to expand and grow from our retail base into larger scale wholesale operations.  The launch of our homemade gelato last year was the next natural step into taking the De Melo brand even further and we have the capacity to produce up to 44 different flavours of gelato from our manufacturing unit on the Riverside Industrial Estate”.

“The roots of De Melo are very much in retail but we have plans to expand our reach and take our product into new areas by growing our wholesale operations and creating jobs as our brand grows”.

“I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank the BME Tees Valley Authority Awards for recognising the dedication and passion that goes into setting up a new business but also to our loyal and ever growing customers who support our business day in and day out.”

Tees Valley is home to over 43,000 Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Community members and their families; The Tees Valley BME Awards provides an essential and well-deserved platform for service providers and community members to recognise achievements across the board.  The awards celebrate personal successes and collective accomplishments for organisations which have advanced the opportunities for BME communities.  This year’s ceremony has built on the success of previous years to showcase the achievement and diverse talent within the Tees Valley.  

De Melo worked with TEDCO Business Support through the Start & Grow programme to set up the business, receiving specialist one to one guidance for new enterprises to help businesses get up and running and investment ready.  With the help of TEDCO, Imran was able to apply for and successfully receive a Virgin StartUp loan.

Mark Johnston, TEDCO Business Advisor comments:

“I am absolutely delighted to see Imran and his wife being recognised by the wider business community. They have worked incredibly hard over the past two years to not only open a successful food retail business but also create new wholesale opportunities that will scale up operations to drive growth and expansion. Imran has such passion and drive to take the business beyond the walls of the restaurant and working with him to support his ideas and plans through TEDCO has been a pleasure.”

Imran continues to work with Virgin as a Virgin StartUp Ambassador and has enjoyed a face-to-face business advice meeting with Sir Richard Branson at the home of the billionaire entrepreneur.

Andy Fishburn, Head of Investment, Virgin StartUp:

“The whole reason Sir Richard Branson launched Virgin StartUp was to help give opportunities to people like Imran, helping give a leg-up to start-ups across the country. Imran has been fantastic as a Virgin StartUp Ambassador over the last twelve months, helping to support and guide other start-ups in his community whilst still running and growing his own successful business. He’s hungry, passionate and driven – it’s great to see him being given the recognition he deserves.”

If you are inspired to turn your own business idea into a reality, why not get in touch with the team here at TEDCO today? Call 0191 5166102 or email us